INTERSEX JUSTICE documents activism in motion, focusing on intersex activists and allies fighting for bodily autonomy and an end to medical violence against intersex people in a globally connected movement.
1.7% of people are born with genetic variations outside of dominant definitions of female or male; many never learn they are intersex. Human Rights Watch and United Nations condemn these unnecessary intersex surgeries, deeming them “genital mutilation” and torture.
The film centers on Pidgeon Pagonis (they/them) an energetic and fearless activist whose parents were coerced into allowing genital surgeries on them as a child. In a college gender studies class, Pidgeon shockingly learned that they were born intersex.
This ground-shaking revelation propelled them into activism fiercely and proudly. They co-founded Intersex Justice Project (IJP) a POC-led organization that begins to fight against Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, the hospital that performed a life altering ‘normalizing’ surgery on Pidgeon when they were a child.
Aubree began documenting Pidgeon’s story in 2017, creating the award-winning short film A Normal Girl that premiered at BFI Flare in London, won the Grand Jury Prize at the United Nations Association Film Festival, and screened at the American Pavilion at Cannes. Pidgeon and Aubree went on to present A Normal Girl in many community settings and festivals, raising awareness and making connections to other intersex people. Watch clips here: https://anormalgirlfilm.com and follow their instagram for updates at @anormalgirlfilm
In the feature, we documented Intersex Justice Project’s years-long protest against Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, insisting Lurie change their standard practice of unnecessary genital procedures on intersex babies and children. In 2020, after major pressure during a viral social media campaign supported by actresses from the series Pose and a medical researcher inside of Lurie, the Intersex Justice Project finally persuaded the hospital to change course and end their policy!
As Pidgeon seeks to continue their fight to change policy in the US, they struggle with burnout, acknowledging their need to refuel their energy, spirit, and strategies. They meet with a group of international intersex activists who invite them to their respective countries. Pidgeon begins a journey photographing intersex people around the world, and meeting with activists and allies who have found ways to change hearts, minds, and policy in their communities and countries. Their journey reveals what the US has yet to learn about the imagined and restrictive binary gender system. In documenting this global movement we visualize for audiences how the powerful call for human rights and bodily autonomy benefits not just the intersex community, but everyone.